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Bugatti is a French automaker specializing in luxurious autos construction. Its production capacities are in Molsheim (Alsace, France), Wolfsburg (Germany), and Campogalliano (Italy); it’s headquartered in Château Saint Jean, Dorlisheim, France. Since 1999, the company has been acquired by the Volkswagen Group.
Today, Bugatti is the automobile brand that symbolizes exclusivity, elegance, and luxury, combining daring technological solutions and a unique design. Ettore Bugatti, a founder of the legendary marque, emmarvelled sophisticated public with each new model, equating motor-car construction with art.
Ettore Bugatti constructed his first, super-lightweight the Type 10 car in the basement of his house in Cologne-Mülheim in 1909. It was followed by the first line-up including the Type 13, Type 15, and Type 17. The Type 13 was top-selling before the WWI and served as a basis for all other Bugatti versions up to the 59.
The year 1927 was marked with launching the legendary Type 41, known as the “La Royale”. The car, designed and built under Ettore’s oldest son Jean’s supervision, became one of the most luxurious autos of all time. Its 4.27 m wheelbase and 13-litre engine facilitated driving, making the car manoeuvring on streets. Weighing about 3 tons, the model had unbelievable power – 260 hp. A true masterpiece was the wheels, spokes of which were made of piano wires. Unfortunately, due to the 1929 financial crisis, only six La Royales instead of 25 were produced.
In 1930s, Bugatti company was flourishing – new models were represented almost each month. Among them are the Type 44, Type 46 “Petit Royale”, Type 50, etc.
Apart from financial devastation after the WWII, the Bugatti company had a hard time due to Ettore’s death in 1947. After the tragedy, the company had been functioning by 1963, presenting just six new models during this period. This year, the Bugatti plants were sold to Hispano-Suiza. In 1999, Volkswagen Group acquired the Bugatti trade mark, producing the EB118, EB 18/3 Chiron, EB 18/4 Veyron shortly afterwards.
Bugatti is associated not only with elegant autos but also with racing championship. In 1924, four Type 35 cars came the first, second, third, and fourth correspondingly at the Grand Prix motor racing. The Type 35 brought fame to Bugatti in this field. From 1925 till 1929, the Targa Florio successfully represented the automaker in this kind of sports. In 1937, Jean-Pierre Wimille won the 24 Hours of Le Mans behind the wheel of the Type 57. Most regrettably, while testing the Type 57s45, Jean, Ettore’s son, died.
The EB 18/3 Chiron was named in honour of an outstanding racing driver, Louis Chiron, who won the greatest number of races for Bugatti.
In 1930s, Ettore Bugatti intended to take part in the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize, the airplane racing. The Bugatti 100P was designed by a Belgian engineer Louis de Monge especially for this event. However, it never took off. Besides, Ettore built the Autorail motorized railcar.
In 2005, Volkswagen started serial production of a new unique model the Bugatti Veyron 16.4, which has become a breakthrough in the history of automobile engineering. Volkswagen CEO Ferdinand Piëch set a real challenge. A new Bugatti should have been done keeping with the highest traditions of the company’s founder – combining unprecedented technical characteristics with a graceful design.
The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 is modern, daring interpretation of Ettore’s philosophy. While having much in common with classic Bugatti exterior, the new model preserves its uniqueness. It’s not a secret that Ettore could sacrifice technical performance to aesthetic appearance of a new auto. However, it’s improper for Volkswagen’s Bugatti, and the Veyron proves it.
The Top Gear recognized the Veyron 16.4 the Car of the Decade and the Best Car in 2000-2009, while the Veyron Super Sport has been acknowledged by the Guinness World Records to be the fastest car in the world (its top speed is 431.072 km/h). Since December 2010, buyers can determine exterior and interior colours of their Bugatti car with the help of the Veyron 16.4 Configurator app on the official website.
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